A 91-year-old woman became the oldest person to graduate from university in Thailand on Wednesday, receiving her bachelor’s degree from King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Escorted by her family, Kimlun Jinakul travelled more than 700 km from the northern province of Phayao to Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, near Bangkok, to receive her bachelor’s degree in human ecology.
“It has always been my dream to continue my studies,” Kimlun told local TV station Thai PBS. She said that she had finished junior high school but couldn’t continue her education at the time because her family couldn’t finance it.
“When I was young, I actually received good grades. “I have always enjoyed reading. I even bought manuals to educate myself so I could help my children with their homework.”
Kimlun said she became inspired to continue her formal studies in 2011, once her children and grandchildren had received university educations and found decent jobs.
“It’s never too late to study,” she said. “She is a very determined person,” said Bhum Juasiripakdee, one of Kimlun’s grandchildren. “We all support her while making sure she remains in good health.”
The university said Kimlun had not received any special treatment in terms of grading. In fact, she failed half of her courses and had to retake examinations several times.
“The university provided me with a lot of convenience,” Kimlun said. “They allocated rooms on the ground floor for me so I did not have to climb the stairs.”
The university is the first in Thailand to offer distance learning to elderly people. Almost 200 people older than 60 have enrolled.